Act I: Zey had heard all about Joshua. As students at LSE, she would often have to listen to her Turkish girlfriends gush over this super cute handsome guy in their class. Finally, Zey has the opportunity to meet said super cute guy – and after a few initial run-ins between him and her friends, Joshua finally musters up the courage to introduce himself to the mysterious girl he’d noticed from afar – he says, “By the way, I’m Joshua”. Zey unfortunately interprets his courageous efforts as cockiness and writes him off as just another casanova-confident cool guy.
Act II: Zey is helping to organize a friend’s 30th birthday boat party on the Thames. While selling tickets at the library, she sees Joshua and invites him to come. He declines. With 5 exams on the horizon, any form of social life is out of the question. On the night of the boat party, just as the last guests arrive, Zey notices Joshua by her side. Surprised, she asks what he’s doing there. He replies, “It was a last-minute decision”. That night, Zey, a non-flirter, sets her sights on a cute Greek guy and decides that she will flirt with him. But as the night progresses, her and Joshua’s paths cross and they stop to discuss life and its mysteries – a bit psychological, a bit philosophical, a bit spiritual. During these spontaneous moments, it’s just the two of them. But Joshua is not blind to the Greek guy at her side and secretly decides that there will be none of that. As the Greek and friends try to convince Zey to join them at a club, she opts for walking with Joshua along the river instead.
Act III: Joshua and Zey begin to spend time together. They find moments to sneak away from their studies for a tea break, for lunch, and at times taking refuge in the small secret park behind the school. Their first official date is at Momo’s, a Moroccan hookah bar, and it is here that Zey tells Joshua she will be returning to Turkey in a months time. As Zey explains, Joshua draws the curtains on this connection between them, although never completely cutting things off. This sudden change leaves Zey heartbroken, confused, and a little disappointed. When she receives a text from Joshua, who is in Venice, saying that he is thinking of her, she is excited. On the day of his return to London, she waits at his apartment building with a sweet box of blueberry muffins (his favourite) along with a stuffed monkey. She stands in the rain for 2 hours, asking everyone who enters if they are Joshua’s flatmate. Finally, his flatmate lets her in and she leaves the gift on his bed. The evening passes with no phone call from him and she is crushed. That night, they see each other at a bar while with their respective group of friends. Before they leave, the two silently make their way to each other and share a hug so full of love and passion, but also pain and the impossibility of this relationship.
Act IV: Zey leaves for Turkey. One day, she phones Joshua on a whim only to learn that his phone is disconnected. The following day, there is an email from him in her inbox. “Are you trying to contact me via psychic ways? I’m in Africa and feel your presence very strongly” he writes, unknowing of her attempted phone call. The next few years pass and the two email rarely. The one constant in their correspondence is the shared feeling of incompleteness. Joshua remarks on this, saying he knows Zey entered his life for a reason but is unsure what that is, but maybe he’ll discover it when he is 97.
Act V: Three years after leaving London, Zey visits the U.S., stopping in NYC, Miami and finally L.A., Joshua’s hometown. Joshua meets Zey at the airport with a sunflower in hand. They visit Venice Beach where they share a hug that instantly transports them to that moment at the London pub long ago. They spend the week together, and visit San Francisco where Zey decides she will live one day. Between her and Joshua, it is evident that the spark is still there, but little hope – he lives in L.A. and she in Turkey. On a whim, Zey arranges a job interview in Miami soon after, and after speaking on the phone with Joshua, it’s clear that the connection is still there. She leaves for L.A. and meets his family and friends. Although she returns to Turkey again, there is now a feeling of hope. Joshua will soon travel to Turkey to convince Zey to move to the U.S. Two months later, they quit their jobs, pack up their lives and move to San Francisco. The two eventually marry in Istanbul, on a boat. As Zey tells me, what began as a magical surreal connection on a boat in London comes to a full circle on another boat on the Bosphorus 7 years later.
Île de Ré, France
Day at the Beach, Nemira, Omiš, Croatia
On the Bosphorus, Ortaköy, Turkey
Birthday Boat Ride on the Thames, London, UK (Photo provided by Zey – Zey in the centre linking arms with Joshua)